Reflections: The Leadership of Peter

Peter often gets a bad rap.

It would be worthwhile if more COG leaders read John Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  We would all benefit if they all were more versed in the laws of respect and empowerment.

Perhaps it would also be worthwhile to study a little bit of sociology.  I remember reading from two different sources about how most every group has two leaders.  Both types of leaders can be combined into one person if the group is extremely small.  However, a group of 4 – 5 people is about the limit on this.  Beyond this, two leaders will invariably emerge.  One is the strategist.  This leader has the vision for the group.  Often this will be the official “leader” with the power to reward and punish or compel others to do things.   The other is the task oriented person.  This person will be first.  They are the “leader” because they have already done what the others must do.  The others are “followers” because they are not first.  This type of leader is often informal, choosing to lead by example rather than by right or by force.

Which type of leader was Peter?  Was he the chosen leader, the one appointed or “chief apostle”?  Or, was he the one who spoke first, acted first and did things as when he saw they needed to be done?  Remember, he cannot be both in a group of 12.

 15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:15-16, King James Version)

 2There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

 3Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:2-3, King James Version)

So, what type of leadership is at work here?  Peter simply said, “I go a fishing.”  Did he say, “We go a fishing”?  Did he say, “Let’s all go a fishing?”  Did he say, “I’m going fishing, and as the Chief Apostle I’m ordering you to go too”?

When you look in Acts 15, notice that it is Peter who first speaks.  So, is Peter acting as a leader here?  Which type of leader?  Who makes the final decision and guides the vision for the entire group (vv 13-22)?  Was James acting as a leader?  Which type of leader was he being?

If any were chosen as the “Chief Apostle”, whose behavior is more like one officially in charge?

However, that assumes that anyone was chosen as a “Chief Apostle” to begin with.  I’m still wondering where that Bible verse is.

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